How to Snip the Thread of Fear and Find Joy in the Journey

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I’ve been afraid ever since I can remember. Afraid of failing. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being rejected. Afraid of not being enough.

Afraid, plain and simple.

As I’ve watched my sister care for her new baby, I’ve been flooded with memories of the heavy load of fear that has weighed down my life, especially when I was in her shoes almost sixteen years ago.

I was such a fearful momma.

Did my little girl eat enough? Was she gaining enough weight? Would she pass those milestone tests?

While I was busy worrying about the future of number 1, number 2 took us by surprise. Then I found myself fretting over their relationship, afraid about the sibling rivalry everyone talks about. Afraid they would one day rebel against our rules. Afraid I might mess them up.

 

Has your mothering journey been marred by fear? The common thread of fear can control us, even when our heart's desire is to walk by courageous faith. Don't let a focus on safety, security and risk prevention hold you back from experiencing and engaging in life giving and life changing opportunities. Are you ready to walk in freedom?


Have you succumbed to these fears, too?

As God would have it, just as I started to emerge from the toddler years, number 3 and 4 arrived together. I remember being overwhelmed by the fear of not having enough of me to go around for my four darlings and husband. I feared life would always be filled with mundane tasks. That I’d never be able to work again in a business setting . . . and I love to work. As diaper days disappeared and tween years arrived, I feared about their grades and friendships and what boundaries to set on dating.

The common thread of my life over the past decade has been fear, even though my heart’s desire has been to walk in courageous faith.

Has your mothering journey been marred by the common thread of fear, too?

If so, I'm glad I'm not alone in this experience, and even more thankful that God has shown me how to snip that thread in order to find joy in the journey.

That's what I want for you . . . to  overcome the joy-stealing, paralyzing stronghold of fear!

For some of us, snipping the thread of fear is more than just increasing faith. It may require getting help, seeking a counselor, and working through some real issues that once gave life to that fear in the first place. I'm sure the deep healing time I had in counseling years ago laid the foundation for me being able to finally move forward less afraid. However, the pinnacle moment in which fear stopped controlling me happened in the most surprising and simplest of ways. 

It started with facing a fear that was really not that big deal at all. Trembling, I approached the head of the line for the “big swing” at family camp one summer, and before I could run in the other direction, I found myself stepping into the harness and climbing the ladder to be hoisted up to the top of a telephone pole. I know, crazy! When I reached as high as I could go, I had to pull the cord so that I could swing back and forth like a trapeze artist. Oh how I hooted and hollered, against the breeze whipping across my face, and in that moment I realized how much fun I was missing out on in life because fear was keeping me bound up and tied down.

My focus on safety, security, and risk-prevention was holding me back from exploring, experiencing, and engaging in life-giving and life-changing opportunities.

I wasn’t the only one missing out — my children were feeling the impact as their momma was too busy being afraid to actually enjoy life with them. That's when I realized I was done with fear once and for all. No more missing out for me!

Fear steals the joy of the journey.

Fear drives us to worry about every decision. It torments us with doubt and regret. It makes us anxious and over-protective and risk-resistant. Should we be surprised that fear is the enemy’s tactic, which he uses to stop us from experiencing the fullness of life God offers?

John 10:10 (NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Oh, my friend, God doesn’t want us to live in fear. He want us to enjoy this life and bask in His love, which He promises will drive out fear.

1 John 4:18 (NIV)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear . . .

Snipping the thread of fear happens when we walk in faith in small ways, putting fuller and fuller trust in God one step at a time.

Oh yes, this faith walk requires taking those fear thoughts captive and putting them up against the Truth -- like the fact that God loves us unconditionally and intends for our good in light of His glory (Romans 8:28). Now His good and our definition of good might be different, yet even so, His faithfulness is unwavering and we can depend on His provisions from now until eternity.

So, my friend, will you lay down your fear before our Father in Heaven and pick up some brave faith?

Let’s battle this fear thing together!

Come join me here next month as I share with you
a crazy cool story about walking in brave faith.

Elisa Pulliam

Elisa is life coach, author, and speaker passionate about equipping women to experience authentic life change for the sake impacting the next generation. She counts it a privilege to come alongside women as a life coach (learn more at elisapulliam.com) as well as through serving as a coach instructor with Life Breakthrough Academy. Elisa also leads More to Be, a ministry committed to equipping moms, engaging teens, and encouraging mentors to shine more bright like Jesus. She considers her first calling as wife to Stephen and mother to her house-full of children. Her favorite days begin on the porch with the Lord and end on the beach with her family and friends.

Trusting God with Tomorrow

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We all want to come to ask God for answers, for a big plan, but life can seem to throw so much change our way, the plan doesn't ever stick. Are you there now? Wondering, waiting, and maybe confused about God's plan for your family? There is one promise that can open your eyes to what you couldn't see yesterday. Come discover what makes all things possible!

 

I don’t know what to do, Lord.

More than once, more than a hundred times… these words on my lips.

And still they come.  As I parent. As bills pile up. As I divide time between worthy priorities. As life decisions I thought I already made keep coming back.

It’s the same for us all, isn't it? With the grey mist hanging over tomorrow and us working so hard to see through it.

We ask God for answers. For a plan.

We’re so sure the next step of life could finally settle things: Marriage. Children. A steady income. Restored health. Following our passion. An empty nest and tidy house.

But we eventually catch on, don’t we?

Life is full of surprises. Change. Wrenches.

Some grow bitter when they realize the future will always be up in the air. Because it truly is.

Even those who seem so stable and secure, whose tomorrows are nicely ordered aren’t invulnerable to life in a broken world.

The bitter miss out on real life. They shrivel, while others grow.

But those who surrender control, who unclench their jaw, let their shoulders fall, and open their palms to Jesus gain peace and courage.

"Those who wait for the Lord gain new strength." (Isaiah 40:31)

Their questions aren’t answered. There is no memo detailing tomorrow’s plan.

But their eyes are opened a little further.

They see things they couldn’t see yesterday… how the Word breathes life.

How "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

How trials develop perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope. (Romans 5:3-4)

They see that hope does not disappoint. (Romans 5:5)

And before long, they’re too busy fixing their eyes on Him to keep peering into tomorrow’s mist. Jesus was there yesterday and today; and they know He’s already in tomorrow.

They falter, of course. Sometimes they wring their hands. Sometimes they forget, and they sink in the waves.

But sometimes too, they catch a glimpse of how far He’s brought them. And the challenge ahead doesn’t fill them with the same dread they used to feel.

In fact, their hearts quicken a little.

They wonder, How is He going to do it this time?

Because they know He specializes in the impossible. Sometimes through miracles, sometimes through grace.

You know He can change you and me into “them,” don’t you?

It feels risky. As if we’re letting go of the wheel.

But He’s always had it.

Let’s fix our eyes.

Trust.

For He knows the way we take. (Job 23:10a)

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

Jennifer Ebenhack

Jennifer’s eight eventful years in Haiti produced a gift of brokenness through which she has discovered the depths of God’s healing grace. She passes that grace on to others through her blog, life coaching, and her ebook Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear. She is currently writing a memoir of her family’s nine-year adoption process and gripping experiences in Haiti.

My Pinterest-Free Home--and the Only To Do List that Matters

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Doing can be an idol. Being never is.I used to measure my day based on how productive I was, now I measure it on how well I love.

There's a fifth person in our house now. She smells like springtime.

A person with chubby cheeks and large blue eyes, with a strong neck who already rolls from side to side and whose favorite place is in someone's arms, a person who is completely vulnerable and dependent and whose hungry cry rattles my soul.

And I find myself walking a lot these days. With her in my arms, because she's crying more than any other baby I've had, and also walking outside, alone, down the country roads, searching for God.

My husband is on paternity leave, taking three months off from teaching and I don't know how I'd do this without him, how anyone does. This two to three--suddenly we don't have laps enough, suddenly, my arms are not long enough, suddenly, a baby is weeping and so are my sons and I am too. Into the endless pile of laundry for all the cloth diapers and onesies.

How is it that one so tiny needs so much?

And how is it that I would die a thousand deaths just so she could live?

Because we do, as mothers. We die to ourselves a thousand times a day so our children can live.

I used to measure my day based on how productive I was.

Now I measure it based on how well I love.

I made a list the other day, a To Do List, based on both giving and receiving love well. I wrote it in bright Crayola. Because when it comes down to it, that's what matters in these days smudged with tired streaks and peanut butter kisses. At the end of it all, did I love well?

 

My To Do List consists of the following:

1. Kiss Trent

2. Tickle and snuggle my kids

3. Laugh

4. Put on music and dance

5. Paint with bright colors

6. Eat something yummy

7. Tell Trent and kids how much I love them

8. Go for a walk or a run

9. Do something I don't want to do for somebody else

10. Pray.

It's about doing life, and post-partum, with grace.

It's about taking that anti-anxiety medication if you need to. It's about taking that nap in the middle of a pile of coloring books and laundry. It's about receiving your husband's or friend's help and taking that walk so you can remember who you are and why you are and how to love.

It's about love.

Doing can be an idol. Being never is. Doing can obstruct our view of Christ. Being invites Him in.

And as we rock our babies and kiss their hurts and read them multiple stories and feed them, we are inviting Christ into our home. Our messy home with the floors begging to be mopped. Our home that smells of burnt toast and Vicks. 

You see, the Christian life doesn't look like the perfect, quiet baby or a Pinterest kitchen with a menu board detailing supper and the children all scrubbed clean and lined up in a row. It doesn't look like "be seen and not heard." It looks, and sounds, like God's beautiful raw sinful people clamoring for forgiveness. 

You are doing well, sweet mama. Don't be discouraged. Rather, consider this photo of our Lulu Tree mamas who gathered in the midst of fighting Typhoid and malaria to worship God in the slum of Katwe. They refused to let an epidemic stand in the way of their weekly fellowship.

 

This is the Christian life. Gathering to worship in the midst of pain and mess and fussy babies. Finding God in the midst of our To Do lists. Letting the Spirit re-write our To Do Lists in bright Crayola. And daring to declare thanks for every good and perfect thing which disguises itself as difficult, all for the glory of God.

Give That Mom a Muffin

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Know a mom who is struggling? Maybe a sweet treat would brighten her day!  It's often the little things that shower love and friendship.

Mothers Day is around the corner—the time of year for kids everywhere to color pictures, attempt to make mom breakfast in bed, or drop by the dollar store to pick up a bottle of fragrant perfume. Of course we moms are tickled with even the smallest of gestures from our kids. It thrills our hearts to know they were thinking of us. But kids aren’t the only ones who can remember moms and attempt to make them feel loved.

Do you have a friend who is a maxed-out mom? Or a single mom? Or one with a brand new baby who is stuck in tired mode all week long? Know a mom friend at work or church who could use a pick-me up and a little note telling her why she is a great parent and friend? Then, grab a pen and note card and write her an encouraging line or two. But you’re not finished yet…..

Finally, head to the kitchen to whip up a batch of tasty, moist muffins to take to your mom friend. {And tell her she totally has permission not to share!}

We moms need each other and who couldn’t use a little sweet treat now and then?

Give that mom a muffin!

Mango-Macadamia Muffins

1 large egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups diced ripe mango

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

1/3 cup chopped unsalted macadamia nuts

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons softened butter


For topping, combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl. Mash until combined. Chill until needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together egg, sour cream, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Fold in mango.

In another bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Fold together just to moisten. Batter will be lumpy.

Quickly fill greased muffin tins with batter to the tops. Crumble topping over the tops. Bake 25–30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool 5–10 minutes.

Remove carefully from pans. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 muffins.

Blessings,

Karen Ehman

 

Just a Heads Up! {the very last day}

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There are so many of you who love to grab this incredible deal every year and I want to be sure you don't miss out! This is the VERY LAST DAY!!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle comes out every year with a brand new set of resources each year to help us in parenting and homemaking. This {in my opinion} is the very best bundle sale available. The books and courses are so very practical and make up an invaluable bundle we couldn't get anywhere else at such an incredible price! 

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of:

76 eBooks

6 eCourses

1 audio download

2 online conferences, and

14 printable packs

For Only $29.97!!!!!

Here are some of the eBooks/courses that are included your bundle:

Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering

Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself

Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home

DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style

Finances… build a budget that works

Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time

Planners and Printables....

Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new

Schooling … fabulous resources for your little ones

Marriage… heat up your marriage

Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life

Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby

Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies

Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family

… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of:

76 eBooks

6 eCourses

1 audio download

2 online conferences, and

14 printable packs

For Only $29.97!!!!!

This is the very LAST DAY to purchase yours!

 The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

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I pray these resources are a blessing to you and your family!

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

DISCLOSURE: There are affiliate links included in this post. Please see full disclosure here.

 

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

Bi-Weekly Meal Plan for April 26–May 9

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Welcome to The Better Mom Whole Food Meal Plan.

featured recipe: No need to fear fish. This baked Cod with parsley almond pesto proves that fish can be absolutely delicious and super simple!

featured recipe: No need to fear fish. This baked Cod with parsley almond pesto proves that fish can be absolutely delicious and super simple!

Our free bi-weekly GF menus open into a convenient pdf that includes links to each of the gluten-free recipes featured making it easy to access them with just a simple click.

Once you click on the graphics below, you can easily save these gluten-free menus to your computer for easy access anytime you need them. Then, simply click on the links within the meal plan pdf to gain instant access to each of the recipes. (Please note: Many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf document. So be sure to save the meal plans to your computer first.)

April 26–May 2 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for April 26–May 2: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

May 3–9 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for May 3–9: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic  or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

In addition to the gluten-free meal plans above, we're pleased to provide you with a free meal planning template perfect for creating your own custom meal plans:
• Meal plan template PDF 

To learn more about meal planning, please check out my FREE Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning. My hope is that this will be a great resource and encouragement for you whether you’re just getting started with meal planning, or are a seasoned expert.

Always a treat to share healthy meals with you! Let’s give thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to nourish our families in this way!

Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly at The Nourishing Home